Lady Killer – What’s The Story?

Country: Hong Kong
Genre: Action/ Martial Arts/ Bullet Ballet/ Drama
Director: Cheung Yan-Git
Year: 1992

Rating: ★½☆☆☆


Lady Killer starts off with a completely random triad chopper battle. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe it has to do with the next couple of sequences, which depict prosperous middle-aged men being arrested. Could it be that these men are triad leaders? Probably.

We meet Lam Wai, a triad leader who has gone legit. On his estate, a couple of gun runners try to interest Lam Wai in their wares. I guess they didn’t get the memo.

Just then, a bunch of police roll up, presumably to question Lam Wai. The gun runners panic, precipitating a gun battle.

Okay, we think, Lady Killer is going to be about Lam Wai’s difficulties in going legit.

Nah. Lam Wai exits the picture early on.

Then we concentrate on young lady Ha Kwong-Li, an orphan who was wronged by the cops long ago. She wants revenge. Her scheme? Catch crooked cops.

To this end, she and her friend Chin Ka-Lok spy on a cop having a conversation with a foreigner from a distance. Do they use a directional mic so that they can hear the conversation? No. Can they lip read? Nah. They just assume that these two are planning a smuggling operation (!)

Yeah, um, okay.

Ha Kwong-Li and her mentor, Tsai Hung, assemble a team for the job. The first step? Murder all the smugglers and steal their contraband. Wha???? What does this have to do with catching crooked cops?

And Ha Kwong-Li, despite 15 years of kung fu and weapons training, doesn’t participate in the job, leaving the action to her male colleagues. Why? Because she’s a girl. Oh, please.

About 45 minutes later, Ha Kwong-Li says that her goal is to kill the cop who shot and killed her mother.

Alright now, which is it? Catch crooked cops in general or kill one specific cop? Hell if I know. Neither do the filmmakers. I couldn’t even find a screenwriting credit for Lady Killer on the Kong Kong Movie Database site, which should tell you something.

And don’t get me started on the vague character writing and pathetic attempts at humor.

With a directionless and contradictory screenplay, the movie is severely handicapped from the get go. Director Cheung Yan-Git doesn’t help matters. His pacing is flabby and he doesn’t know when to cut off a scene. Lady Killer has none of the manic energy Hong Kong cinema is known for.

Even a cameo by the great Shing Fu-On can’t liven things up.

But forget all of that. Most of you probably want to know if the action is any good.

Well, there’s a little bit of decent kung fu, especially from star Ha Kwong-Li, (I rather enjoyed her early training sequence, although it seemed inappropriate for her to be so cheery when she was training to get her revenge), but the martial arts quality is inconsistent at best.

On the other hand, the gun battles and most of the stunts are lame. We’re treating to dozens of weak explosions followed by obvious jumps off of hidden trampolines.

Now, all of this is dispiriting, but doubly so when you consider the filmmakers thoroughly waste the talents of actors like Karel Wong, To Gwai-Fa, Dick Wei, and Lam Wai, all of who can either fight or fake it.

To put it as kindly as possible, action director Yau Ying-Hung does not distinguish himself.

And then there’s the melodramatic ending, drowning in bathos. Now, I don’t mind melodrama per se, but the acting in the final sequence is so wretched that it kind of functions like a moldy cherry on top of this turd of a movie.

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